Summer has arrived, and as dermatologists, our thoughts (and those of our patients) have turned to sun protection. In addition to the usual recommendations (sunscreen every day, 365 days a year, rain or shine; UV-blocking sunglasses to avoid eye damage; hats and sun-protective clothing for extra coverage) we want to suggest a “new” form of sun protection that is actually thousands of years old: an umbrella.
Employing an umbrella for rain protection is a relatively new innovation, credited to Jonas Hanway who suffered much ridicule when he adopted the practice in London in the late 1700s. The use of a parasol, on the other hand, to provide shade dates back to ancient Egypt. But somehow, in many parts of the world, using an umbrella for sun protection has fallen out of fashion (we’re looking at you, America!). We want to help bring it back.
Carrying an umbrella enables you to protect your scalp, face, neck, chest, back, and arms from the sun with one accessory. The thick weave of umbrella fabric makes for a high UPF (a rating given to fabric that’s analogous to SPF for sunscreen), and it provides comfortable shade that can be elusive on hot, sunny days. Holding an umbrella is not always convenient, but we do it when it rains, protecting ourselves from something far less dangerous than the sun. It’s time to make opening an umbrella on a hot sunny day the norm rather than the exception.
We love the all-weather UV umbrellas made by PARASUN (full disclosure: the woman who invented it is our cousin!), which offers a compact, stylish design with two layers of fabric in colors that work together to keep you cool and protected (with UV blockage in excess of 98%). PARASUN offers specially designed clamps to attach your umbrella to a chair or stroller, and a UV Index Alert System to remind you when you need it.
There is no question that regular use of an umbrella this summer will help to limit your sun exposure, decreasing the damaging effects over-exposure to UV rays can have on your skin. So throw one in your bag, and when you find yourself in the sun this summer, you’ll have portable, on-demand shade. Be a pioneer! Spread the word. Let’s make sun umbrellas as socially acceptable as they are smart.
PARASUN All-Weather UV Umbrellas can be purchased through CompleteSkinMD or ordered directly from www.parasunumbrella.com.